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social distancing covid 19

Returning to Work Post-COVID-19

Throughout the world, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dramatically affect the lives of individuals. As our communities continue to reopen, many people are struggling to enter back into the workforce without any negative emotions. 

 

When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, hundreds of millions of people were forced to lockdown, abruptly transition to working from home, or for those that did not have that option, lose their jobs entirely.

 

For months the future looked and felt uncertain for so many people, and in some respects it still does. Even with a large portion of the U.S. population receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the fear of returning to work and potentially being exposed lingers. 

 

As we all transition into this new normal, and as businesses start to bring back their employees, many individuals returning to work are struggling to feel safe. After more than a year of either not working, or working remotely, many employees are experiencing return-to-work anxiety coupled with stress at the thought of returning to an office setting. After all, for over a year, people have been repeatedly advised how deadly this virus is and how important it is to social distance. The thought of being close to others is terrifying for some individuals. Employees are inquiring as to what steps their employers are taking to keep them safe as they transition back to work amid a pandemic? We’ve compiled some information to help both employees and employers as we ease back into the workplace. 

What is the Risk of COVID-19 Contact in the Workplace?

 

The risk of exposure to COVID-19 depends on the likelihood of coming into prolonged, close contact with others, having frequent physical interaction with others who may be infected with the virus, as well as coming into contact with contaminated surfaces and objects. 

Are There Preventative Measures a Person Can Take to Avoid Exposure?

 

Many employers are seeking the support of an occupational health and safety advisor to carry out a rapid risk assessment. This is used for determining their staff’s exposure risk to implement preventative measures. Before returning to work, verify what, if any, preventative measures your employer has created. 

 

The WHO has created key measures that all employers should be implementing regardless of the industry. They include frequent hand-washing, disinfecting stations with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, respiratory hygiene (covering coughs, physical distancing, wearing face coverings, regular environmental cleaning, and disinfection, and limiting unnecessary travel). Employers should create and implement clear policies, training, and education for all staff members to inform them of COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, employers must encourage unwell workers or anyone who develops symptoms to stay home, self-isolate, and contact a medical professional immediately. Providing employees with COVID-19 information such as testing centers is a great way to keep employees informed. 

The Rights, Duties, and Responsibilities of Employers and Employees

 

Employers, workers, and their organizations should strive to collaborate with health authorities to help prevent and control COVID-19. Employers should implement measures that prevent and mitigate exposures at the workplace while also providing personal protective equipment determined necessary through the risk assessment. To protect workers at higher risk such as those ages 60 and over, or those with underlying medical conditions, special measures should be taken.

 

Workers must follow the measures for occupational safety and health to help control the spread of COVID within the workplace. Workers have the right to remove themselves from any work situation that presents an imminent and serious danger to their life or health and must be protected from any unseemly consequences.

Tips to Overcome Return-to-Work Anxiety

 

Plan Ahead. As you transition back to work, finding some control over the uncertainty can help ease your anxiety. These can be simple things such as revisiting your work wardrobe, prepping your lunch, or organizing any work-related items. 

 

Find the Good. This transition can be nerve-wracking, but do your best to seek the good in returning to work to help boost hope and optimism which in turn can help quiet your worry and anxiety. Think about the coworkers that you have missed or the customer’s smiles that brighten your day. 

 

Talk About It. Find your person and vent away or start utilizing a journal. Expressing our feelings is a great way to help ease our worries and anxieties about what we are feeling. It is easy to get lost in our thoughts and emotions, so we need to make time to express ourselves. Remember your feelings matter. Feel those feelings, but find a way to release them and not be consumed by them. 

 

As the world seeks some normalcy, many people are feeling anxious and uncomfortable to return to anything. Many individuals are returning to work full-time, forced to be near people – people they have been told to avoid for over a year. It is no wonder so many are consumed with negative emotions as they transition back to the workforce. Anxiety and stress are normal reactions to heavy situations. It is important to find outlets to help ease those stresses and worries such as knowing your rights as an employee and asking the right questions. Your safety within the workplace is vital and a requirement. When employers and employees work together to find measures that keep each person sane and safe, it creates a workspace that is much easier to come back to. If you are struggling with negative emotions due to COVID, reach out to Achieve Medical Concierge today. Call today (858) 221-0344.

Maintaining a Schedule for Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a Schedule for Work-Life Balance

As the stay-at-home orders are lifted nationwide, it is essential to maintain a schedule that works for you. It has likely been easier to keep a work-life balance without a daily commute, early alarm clocks, or filled social calendars. As we begin to go back to work, you must remind yourself how to continue balancing your work life and your home life.

Below are some tips you can use to bring yourself back to a stable balance while being away from home and still remain present for yourself and your family.

Write It Down

The first step for tackling any challenge is to write it down. You want to create a map to remind yourself where you need to be at any given point. Life can be uncertain and unpredictable, so take the time to build the foundation and structure your mind needs to maintain positive mental health benefits. This solid foundation will increase your productivity throughout the day.

A great way to start this process is to buy a planner that is visually pleasing to you so you are more inclined to use it. Consider picking up a simple planner from the local superstore or get a custom-made planner online. As long as it’s a planner that you can identify and use regularly, you are on the right track.

Try buying stickers, colorful pens, and specialized tools to color-coordinate your planner and make it your own. You can also add in spaces where you can doodle, create lists, or write down important information. When designing your planner, it is important to consider a successful work-life balance and then visualize what to do when there is an imbalance between them.

A great tactic to separate work/responsibility tasks from self-care and personal time is to separate the two by color. For example, make all work tasks green and all personal tasks blue. This way, you can see when you are dedicating more time to work than you are committing to yourself or personal matters.

Put an End to Procrastination

Once you have created a scheduled map of where you’re going, your next enemy to battle is procrastination. Almost everyone struggles with this issue, but it is something that you can train yourself to stop doing. Knowing your direction is half the battle of overcoming procrastination.

You are now priming each day with intention, which can eliminate the need for your mind to drift and avoid decisions that take up precious time and energy. Spend 21 days following your hour-by-hour schedule as carefully as you can. Train yourself to adhere to a timetable, so you no longer allow yourself to procrastinate.

Make sure to not put off tasks like working out, meditation, or a quick walk at lunchtime to put yourself in a fresh mindset to accomplish more things at work. Continue to take time for yourself to release and debrief from your workday. Make sure that you are prioritizing your mental health throughout your daily work routine.

Avoid Multitasking

While it is impressive to juggle a lot of projects at once, science shows us that multitasking decreases the quality of our work. Create a checklist of things that you need to accomplish for the day and list them by importance. Don’t worry about your ability to complete everything — focus on the quality of the work you can do. Whatever does not get checked off the list at the end of the day goes to the top of the checklist the next day as the most critical items.

This method ensures that you will not be focused on multitasking and possibly completing the same amount of work but at lower quality. You want to dedicate all of your time to one task and give it the best effort you can, then move on to the next item on your list.

Make sure that you also remove any outside distractions such as social media, texting, internet surfing, or chatting with colleagues. There are several website blockers that you can use, so even if you are tempted to get on social media, you will be unable to. Keep your work area clean and distraction-free, as it will be too easy to pick up whatever is at hand and become distracted.

Another great way to release yourself during this time is to use the Pomodoro method and allow yourself a specific time for distraction. The Pomodoro method is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have, rather than against it. Using this method, you break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. Make sure to set a timer so you don’t get lost in the never-ending abyss of social media or the internet.

Whatever system works best for you, the goal is to continue having a healthy work-life balance outside the home.

Looking for life coaching or guidance from qualified mental health professionals who can help you get a routine started? Achieve Concierge is here for you. Our expert mental health services are designed to make you a top priority. Your personal mental wellness, work, and lifestyle needs will be taken into account at every step of treatment. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (858) 221-0344.